Colour wheel basics

At first glance a full colour wall can appear daunting – so many colours to choose from! The best thing you can do is to stop and think "there are only three colours" – blue, red and yellow. These are your Primary Colours.

Every paint colour in a colour wall has come from a mixture of these three.  Mixing two Primary Colours together results in a Secondary Colour which can be found between the Primary Colours used to create it - for example, adding red and blue together gives you purple. In between the Secondary Colours you will find the Tertiary Colours that come mixing two Secondary Colours.

Colours such as white, black, beige, ivory and grey are called Neutral Colours as they appear to be "without" colour, though all neutrals except white and grey do come from the colour wheel.

Colour schemes

When you’ve worked out your base colour there are several colour combinations to consider:

  • Monochromatic
  • Complementary
  • Triad
  • Analogous

Monochromatic colours come from a single base hue and extend to using its shades, tones and tints. This scheme typically looks clean and elegant.

Analogous colours are groups of three colours that are next to each other on the colour wheel, sharing a common colour. Three colours side by side mean harmony, no matter what the depth of colour is.

Complementary colours are directly opposite the one you have chosen as your base colour. Blue and orange are a classic complementary colour pairing. These colours can highly contrast to create a punchy vibrancy, but needs to be well managed so it’s not jarring.

Triadic colour schemes use colours that are evenly spaced around the colour wheel. They can be quite vibrant, even if they’re lighter hues.

Colour: Black Fox

The 60-30-10 rule

When you’re choosing your room’s palette, it’s helpful to remember the 60-30-10 rule. It’s a timeless concept that helps make choosing your colours easier, and provide balance to your styling.

  • 60% is the main colour for your room. It anchors the space and serves as a backdrop for the rest.
  • 30% is the secondary colour, this could be curtains, sofas, bed linen, or even an accent wall. The secondary colour works harmoniously with the main colour, but is still different enough to have its own identity and give the room interest.
  • Now for the fun part – the remaining 10% is your accent colour. So for a living room, think throw pillows, lamps, accessories and artwork. If you already have an artwork in mind, or perhaps a patterned statement chair, you can take your lead from this.

Colours: Catalina Green and Freshwater Pearl

Lighting effects on paint colours

Fluorescent lighting will give out a "cool light" and down lights a "warm glow". You also need to take into account how much natural light there is.

We’ve worked with a lighting engineer to give you a head start on what our colour would look like under some different lighting conditions. When you choose a colour on the Taubmans website, you can change it to get an idea of the lighting effects of LED/florescent and halogen lighting as well as sunset, sunrise, overcast daylight and midday sun.

Colour temperature

When selecting or creating colours you need to understand a little about how a colour is either "warm" or "cool". Typically you would classify lime, green, turquoise, blue and navy as "cool" colours while yellow, mandarin, orange, raspberry, red, magenta and purple can be considered "warm" colours.

Where the line blurs a little is when you create a "cooler" purple by adding some blue, or you create a "warmer" lime by adding some yellow. The degree to which you change a colour's temperature depends on the amount of the altering colour you add.

The basics of colour temperature are important to understand as warm and cool neutrals will tend to "fight" each other if there isn't another colour in between them.

The best way to test paint colours

When you’ve narrowed down your choice, the best thing to do is to buy some Taubmans sample pots. Paint an A4 piece of white cardboard or a canvas and when it's dry take it around the house and see how it looks in each room. Leave it in one spot on an easel or up against a chair and see how the colour looks at different times of the day.